Early 2+2 Applicants at HBS Hear Their Fate

Deidre Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School began notifying on Friday (July 22) its summer round 2+2 applicants whether they will be invited to interview, put on a waitlist, or rejected. It was not clear how many applications Harvard received in the summer round which closed on July 6th.

Deidre “Dee” Leopold, director of MBA admissions and financial aid at HBS, said the school “saw a strong applicant pool this summer and gave careful consideration to all candidates.” Admissions interviews will take place on the HBS campus between Aug. 17 and Aug. 23.

The 2+2 program allows undergraduate seniors to apply for deferred admission to the Harvard Business School. If accepted, students are expected to acquire two years of work experience before showing up on campus for the school’s MBA curriculum. The program, the brainchild of Leopold, was launched three years ago to help Harvard attract the attention of exceptional students who might otherwise go to med or law school. HBS designed the program to reach a more diverse group of applicants from science, engineering, healthcare, government, and public service.

The very first cohort of 2+2 students begins at Harvard this fall, raising the school’s intake of incoming students with only two years of work experience to 113 from 85 last year. Some 60 2+2 students are expected this year out of a total of 106 from 52 colleges who were admitted two years ago. Most of the other accepted students are deferring their entrance for another year or more.

Some 630 undergraduates applied in the first year, leading to an acceptance rate of 17%. Admits in that cohort had average GMAT scores of 718 and a grade point average of 3.73. A much higher percentage of 2+2 admits were women. In that first group, 41% were female. And only 3% had degrees in business administration.

Since that first year, however, 2+2 admission has become significantly more competitive. Last year, the acceptance rate fell to only 12%–five percentage points lower than the first cohort. HBS admitted fewer students, 100, from a much larger applicant pool of 828 students, up by nearly 200 applications from the first year.  The average GMAT score for what would be the Class of 2015 cohort hit 720 and the average GPA was 3.76. The average GRE Q score was 773, while the average GRE V score was 662.

In a post on her “Director’s Blog,” Leopold said that college seniors applying in upcoming applications rounds “will receive the same careful attention and we commit to making offers throughout the season. The 2+2 Class of 2016 cohort is not ‘full’ or ‘closed.’”

For applicants who were “released” in the summer round, Leopold said she hoped they “understand that they will not be in any way at a disadvantage if they apply again after they graduate and are working full-time.”

Applicants to HBS’ 2+2 program can apply throughout their senior year of college. The next three application rounds are the same as Harvard’s regular MBA application deadlines. Round one ends Oct. 3, with applicants receiving notification in December. Round two ends Jan. 10, with notification in March. And round three ends April 10, with notification in May.


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